With the rise of smart homes, smart cars, and smart cities, many manufacturers interested in entering the IoT market are beginning to add wireless functionality to their products. Wireless functionality is a quick way to enter this competitive market, increase sales, and move inventory. However, when these devices become wireless, they are required to comply with wireless regulations – adding a completely new task for the regulatory compliance group of a company. For example, a traditional medical device must comply with the medical and health regulations of the intended market. When these devices are transitioned into wireless medical devices, they now must also comply with the wireless regulations for that intended market.In order to add wireless functionality to a product, wireless radio modules must be incorporated during the design phase of the product. One of the most efficient ways to add these modules to a product is by using pre-approved radio modules. While the end product will still require testing, using a pre-approved module will speed up the compliance process and reduce the overall cost. In this article, we will cover a few learning points:
- What are approved modules?
- What do you have to think about when using pre-approved modules?
- What are the benefits?
What is Modular Approval?
Before understanding modular approval, we must first understand the module itself. A module is a small electronic device that can communicate using signals (either transmit, receive, or both) with another device wirelessly, using radio frequency. These devices are normally installed in different end-products – also known as a host – and can be manufactured by either the same module manufacturer or another equipment manufacturer. Common technologies used by wireless modules are Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, WLAN, GPS, and more.
In order to obtain modular approval, the radio module must first be certified. Modular approvals requires that the module has its own shields, oscillator, and antenna at the very least. However, the challenge remains that while these modules are compliant as an independent unit, once they are integrated into an end product, the regulatory requirements change.
What Should Manufacturers Consider When Using Pre-Approved Modules?
As mentioned above, when devices become wireless – equipped with a radio module – there is a whole new set of rules and regulations they must abide by before entering the market. These devices must undergo specific testing, abide by new standards, receive approval from certification bodies, and more. When planning to use pre-approved modules, manufacturers need to consider:
What Are the Benefits of Using a Modular Approval?
Today, modules are expected to seamlessly integrate into end products quickly and without in-depth radio frequency (RF) expertise. Using pre-approved modules helps to make the design and certification of devices faster and cheaper, reducing R&D time and risk. For the end product manufacturer, using an approved module simplifies the manufacturing and reduces the time to market.
Another benefit of using approved radio modules is the versatility of the device. Modules can be integrated into a long list of host products including, but not limited to:
|Household Appliances||Office Equipment|
|Smart Home Products||Lab Equipment|
|Medical Equipment||Automotive / Smart Cars|
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